Today in Madonna History: July 21, 1987

On July 21 1987, the Who’s That Girl: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album was released.

Who’s That Girl was released as the lead single from the soundtrack, it became Madonna’s sixth single to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her the first artist to accumulate six number-one singles in the 1980s, and the first female performer to earn that many number-ones as a solo act.

The album’s second single, Causing a Commotion, was released on August 25, 1987. In the United States, the single quickly climbed up the chart, ultimately peaking at number two in the week of October 24, 1987, the same week Michael Jackson’s Bad advanced to the pole position. It remained in second position for three weeks, before descending from the chart.

The third song released from the album was the European single The Look of Love. In the United Kingdom, The Look of Love was released on December 12, 1987, and entered the UK Singles Chart at position 15.  The next week, it reached a peak of nine on the chart, her first single to miss the top five since Lucky Star in 1984.

Regarding her contributions to the soundtrack, Madonna said:

“I had some very specific ideas in mind, music that would stand on its own as well as support and enhance what was happening on-screen and the only way to make that a reality was to have a hand in writing the tunes myself… The songs aren’t necessarily about Nikki or written to be sung by someone like her, but there’s a spirit to this music that captures both what the film and the characters are about, I think.”

The only Madonna song not to be released as a single or performed live from the soundtrack was Can’t Stop. Madonna had been performing her three other songs from the soundtrack during the Who’s That Girl World Tour for over a month prior to the album’s release.

6 responses

  1. Do I remember Who’s That Girl? Yes I do! Never has an artist been so appreciative of her audience! Madonna is the seminal and singular figure in Rock who commands a stage like no other! All alone on a darkened stage-Lady Madonna-with the audience at her feet-does the happy/sad balancing act like a gymnast-Spinning round like a whirling dervish, Madonna owns the world in a tight grip!

  2. I remember sitting in my car listening to the Top 40 hoping “Causing a Commotion” would go to #1. It was the #2 song for three weeks! I always loved that song and its remixes. I wonder if a video would’ve helped give the song that extra nudge to top the chart?

    Also, I saw that a video for “The Look of Love” had been uploaded to Madonna’s YouTube channel. I wonder if that video played in the UK back in 1987 or if the video was newly created. I’d never seen or heard of it before.

    Despite the movie underperforming, it was a fun time to be a Madonna fan.

    • Warren, as far as I know, the Look Of Love video did air in the UK, although I would imagine it received only very light rotation given the fact that it was only clips from the film with no scenes of Madonna performing the song. I’ve always thought that they should have released her excellent live performance of the song from the Who’s That Girl Tour as the video instead. While it’s a great song all around, for me the live version improves on the album version as the production sounds more dynamic and powerful versus the more restrained production and vocals of the studio version. I made an attempt to make the video a bit more interesting by adding some clips of live version to the official music video…left the audio alone though. If interested, you can see that version here:

  3. Perhaps if Shanghai Surprise didn’t happen, this movie would’ve been a hit. It has its own charm. The songs sound the most dated among Madonna’s 80s hits, but their killer hooks are infectious. 🙂

    • Agreed AJ, I always thought the songs on this soundtrack were possibly the most dated sounding of her back catalogue in terms of production, but they’re great songs nonetheless. Her performance of the title track on the Rebel Heart Tour was a highlight for me and reaffirmed to me what a fantastic song it is. I had always taken the lyrics at face value but hearing her perform a slowed and stripped down version revealed an entirely different subtext to the lyrics that had never occurred to me before…to me, that’s always the mark of a great song!

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